November 16, 2022

The Creator Of Mastodon Is Running On Fumes

Mastodon logoMastodon logo

The creator of Mastodon, Eugen Rochko, speaks to Wired magazine’s Will Knight about what it has been like since Elon Musk took over Twitter and the federated service became flooded with new users.

People probably want to hear that it’s been great—all this growth and success—but I would prefer to be watching from the sidelines. There is more work, there are more fires to put out. It’s incredibly stressful. I’m pulling 14-hour workdays, sleeping very little, and eating very little.

It’s interesting to hear Rochko discuss the feature requests coming from users that have left Twitter.

Another feature requested by users is quote tweets. It has been debated for years, and when Twitter introduced them, around the time I left the platform, I wasn’t a fan. Even if it’s not always toxic, it can definitely tempt you to do what people call dunks. That being said, I don’t feel as strongly about that now, as I used to back then, and I’m definitely taking into account how often people ask for this feature. It’s not all set in stone.

I know people have different opinions about the quote tweet, but I, personally, hope Mastodon keeps it out. I hate the tweet dunks for which it gets used.

While users flock to Mastodon (and Rochko loses sleep), in the wake of the Elon Musk takeover of Twitter, some longtime users of the platform are feeling like their homes are being invaded.

It’s not entirely the Twitter people’s fault. They’ve been taught to behave in certain ways. To chase likes and retweets/boosts. To promote themselves. To perform. All of that sort of thing is anathema to most of the people who were on Mastodon a week ago. It was part of the reason many moved to Mastodon in the first place. This means there’s been a jarring culture clash all week as a huge murmuration of tweeters descended onto Mastodon in ever increasing waves each day. To the Twitter people it feels like a confusing new world, whilst they mourn their old life on Twitter. They call themselves refugees”, but to the Mastodon locals it feels like a busload of Kontiki tourists just arrived, blundering around yelling at each other and complaining that they don’t know how to order room service. We also mourn the world we’re losing.

Though I don’t use Mastodon currently, I hope Twitter users don’t bring the culture of the site to Mastodon. I just noticed that the only person I ever fought with on Twitter has joined Micro.blog, and I wonder if the culture of that network can survive a big influx of people used to the sparring on Twitter.


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